By Ubong Sampson
Recent events in the state remind me of this boy in my nursery school class who was always quick to break into tears whenever he did something wrong and was caught or when fingers pointed at him as the prime suspect. There was this day he got everyone laughing when he met a little boy in the back of his class having snacks for lunch during break. He had snatched the little boy’s refreshments and ran away, not knowing he was the headmistress’ nephew who cried to the woman’s office to report to her.
Madam headmistress took her nephew from class to class, hoping the little boy would be able to identify his oppressor. Getting to my class, my classmate had no vestige of luck left on his side that day, as the boy identified him and quickly too. But in his usual manner, while denying ever encountering the boy, he broke into tears, such that even madam headmistress was confused and ceded to a second thought of questioning her little nephew again. Well, how the truth came out, you are at liberty to imagine for yourself.
Another short one. My friend, Barr. Ewa Okpo once said that witches suffer a lot of blames even on deaths resulting from one’s carelessness. He added that most of these blames might be happening when the witches are experiencing serious blood scarcity, and went further to imagine how sober the witches would be in such situations, taking blames with blood-thirsty throats. How he got to know this, and why he was that sympathetic to the witches, I do not know. Maybe his human rights activism extends to the witches. You can contact him for further questions.
You see, one will see the “tears” of Godswill Akpabio in response to the pointed fingers at him as being the chief masterminder of recent political events threatening peace in the state, and might be forced to be sympathetic towards him. Earlier in the day, I read a piece on the recent crisis in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, where the writer apparently sought knowledge on what has become of Akpabio’s earlier denial of his indirect involvement in the crisis, when unfolded events have proven otherwise.
Surprisingly, he has not denied the latest of his nationalist achievements, when all fingers had long started pointing at him as the hand behind the arrest of Utitofon Morgan, Publisher of popular SitippeKeAkwaIbom blog. However, even if he had suffered poor Anietie Ekong (his media aide) with the pains of scribbling the usual witchy “tears” in the name of a press statement, any rational mind who has good knowledge of Akpabio’s days as head of government in the state, will not need any political analysis to know the former governor’s political approach and use of power.
Facts reveal that it was the inability to use power, owing to his former party’s loss of control at the centre, that partly contributed to his defection to the party in government at the centre, where he could, at least, have the favour of security agencies to aid his well-known oppressive tendencies. And he had barely settled in his new party, when he reactivated his oppressive devices against even the preexisting members of the party who struggled to keep the party alive, while he held sway in power. Some of these people had left the ruling party in the state because of his overbearing and uncivil attitude and power abuse, and just when they thought solace had come to stay, the emperor found his way to their land of refuge. What a double tragedy!
On the Assembly crisis, the first call for suspicion came when the five sacked lawmakers chose Nse Ntuen, Akpabio’s former representative in the state assembly to lead their revolt. Knowing Nse Ntuen the much I do, I could tell that the shoes he attempted to step into is one he would never have contemplated if circumstances were normal. At least, not for the present times. Hence, I could perceive that within a few seconds, an emperor from behind the cameras must have thought over and seen him to be a better stooge to be used in getting back at Onofiok Luke who has overtime been his nightmare and a deflating pin to his demigod ego.
Having tried severally, since his reign as first citizen in the state, to tie the speaker to his apron strings without success, he had long taken a B-plan of hampering his political rise, and possibly force it to total destruction. We may begin a trace from 2013 when the speaker refused to take his oath of loyalty (mbiam), which has been his practice and strategy to forcefully commit people to his dirty political artifice and chicanery even against the rationality of their minds and good conscience. Also in the same 2013, Onofiok Luke was openly attacked in Ika by Akpabio’s core allies at the funeral ceremony of the parents in-law of his fifth assembly colleague, Hon. Gabriel Toby. As a reporter, then with the Community (now Nigerian) Pulse Newspaper, I witnessed the event and was first to report same exactly as it happened because my paper was on production same day.
Worried by my report, and the way the media (local and national) was feasting on the news, Akpabio immediately held a press conference, where he shamelessly denied an incident I, as well as other journalists witnessed live. Unknown to us, he had before the conference, held a peace meeting with Onofiok Luke and his eye-service attackers, and not only did he beg Onofiok to help control the news spread (as if Onofiok owns or controls any media house), he had also asked Luke to address the press and deny being attacked in Ika as reported. Well, always being conscious of himself and his actions, Onofiok, the same way he turned down the mbiam (traditional oath) offer, dismissed such idea and told him that doing such will turn the media against him, as it would amount to gathering members of the press community, among whom will be journalists who reported the incident, and telling them to their faces that they lied about an event they witnessed with their own eyes. Personally, I would have started looking at him and his much preached integrity with a second eye, had he tried such.
One would describe as unfortunate, the fact that, in the father and son relationship of Godswill Akpabio and Onofiok Luke, while the son studied and understood the father so well, the father could not study the son. Had he, his knowledge of who the son truly is would be cautioning him against making some of the moves and offers he deloes. Such moves as the N2bn defection offer and a deputy governorship slot, claiming to be from the presidency. And since the son rejected the offer without a second thought, father resorted to mobilizing some of his slaves who have unrepentantly subjected themselves to his demigod status, to run an emotional blackmail campaign against son, making him appear like a once-upon-a-time destitute who had no hope in life outside the confines of the destitute home, until god-Akpabio appeared and turned his life around. And when it appeared that was failing, boom! The assembly crisis erupted and presented father emperor with another opportunity to get back at his “stubborn” son.
Now that the last gambit has fallen like a pack of cards, father, I believe, will come to understand that though son may have learnt certain things from him, cowardice was never part of them. And son has consciously kept his hands clean and will never start trembling in trepidation or be running helter skelter into emergency nationalism upon sighting the past. Not that I am accusing anyone of having unclean hands, but we all know that in recent times, nationalism has been redefined, and the factors that cause its rise now, is different from what it was in the days of Kwameh Nkrumah, Nnamdi Azikiwe, etc, when America began directing her foreign policies concerning Africa towards the decolonization of European territories in the African continent.
Ubong Sampson is a commentator on nationalistic affairs.